Flip-Flopping NY Times Condemns 'Far-Right' GOP for Opposing Warrantless Surveillance

July 7th, 2023 4:51 PM

On Tuesday, the New York Times featured a galling story by reporter Karoun Demirjian: “G.O.P. Threatens Spy Agencies’ Surveillance Tool.” The subhead: “With hard-right Republicans attacking federal law enforcement agencies and unwilling to extend their broad powers, a major warrantless surveillance program targeting foreigners overseas may face new limits from Congress.”

It’s quite amazing how drastically the Times philosophy has altered from 17 years ago, when the paper considered it their journalistic imperative to expose terrorist surveillance programs, under the hated Bush administration.

Demirjian was hostile to Republicans opposing warrantless surveillance, a perverse enough position for a reporter to take. But Demirjian downplayed a major detail that rendered her hostility hypocritical: Left-wing Democrats in Congress are also opposed to reauthorizing the law. Yet they got a pass in the name of standing up for principle, while conservative concerns were merely irresponsible and “politically loaded.”

The once-secret program -- created after the 9/11 attacks and described by intelligence officials as crucial to stopping overseas hackers, spy services and terrorists -- has long faced resistance by Democrats concerned that it could trample on Americans’ civil liberties….

She continued with name-calling Republicans for believing the same thing as the Democrats.

….But far-right lawmakers have embarked on a louder and more politically loaded effort to fight the measure. They have seized on official determinations that federal agents botched a wiretap on a Trump campaign adviser and more recent disclosures that F.B.I. analysts improperly used Section 702 to search for information about hundreds of Americans who came under scrutiny in connection with the Jan. 6 attack and the Black Lives Matter protests after the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a police officer.

Here's a little reminder of when the Times was eager to scuttle warrantless surveillance programs when used by a Republican president fighting an actual war on terrorism.

The lead story of the June 23, 2006 Times exposed a U.S. terrorist surveillance program involving international bank transfers ("Bank Data Sifted In Secret By U.S. To Block Terror," by investigative reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau):

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

Conservatives reviled the paper’s expose, while liberals and journalists were mostly on board.

Those same Times reporters had scuttled another anti-terrorist surveillance operation in December 2005 with “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.” That story won a Pulitzer Prize.

After 9-11, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without court-approved warrants, a policy reduced by the Times to “domestic eavesdropping.”

Nowadays, the hypocritical Times actually whines there’s not enough domestic eavesdropping in the name of squelching dangerous conservative “misinformation,” to the point of demanding being able to eavesdrop on private conversations taking place on social-media apps, and mourning a new court ruling stopping the Biden administration from colluding with Big Tech to violate the First Amendment.